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Assange to appeal extradition ruling

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"Journalism is not a crime" placard at a demonstration in support of Assange outside the Home Office on 17 May

UK HOME Secretary Priti Patel today (17 June 2022) issued her decision that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be extradited to face charges in the US under its Espionage Act.

Both the NUJ and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), of which the NUJ is a part, completely oppose Julian's extradition. The NUJ "has opposed extradition on the grounds that it was sought since the moment the terms of it were made known". The union calls for support for Assange because of the implications of his prosecution for journalism: see here.

Assange's wife Stella immediately said: "it was in Priti Patel's power to do the right thing. Instead, she will forever be remembered as an accomplice of the United States in its agenda to turn investigative journalism into a criminal enterprise. Foreign laws now determine the limits of press freedom in this country and the journalism that won the industry's most prestigious prizes has been deemed an extraditable offence and worthy of a life sentence. The path to Julian's freedom is long and tortuous. Today is not the end of the fight. It is only the beginning of a new legal battle. We will appeal through the legal system; the next appeal will be before the High Court."

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A demonstration in support of Assange outside the Home Office on 17 May

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: "Any journalist who is handed a classified US document, or is contacted by a whistleblower to expose criminality and wrongdoing will now fear that they too will be extradited, and put at risk of spending the rest of their lives in prison. Whatever one’s opinion of Julian Assange, he is being pursued for actions that are part of the daily work of any investigative journalist. Priti Patel had the opportunity to show humanity, and a respect for free expression. I regret that she has chosen not to. There are some legal avenues available to Assange that might yet prevent his extradition. I can only hope that they are successful."